This time of year always brings back bad memories and anxiety for me because it was around this time 8 years ago that I was working at a bank during a robbery. I still remember it so vividly that it terrifies me. And when I recount the story to someone, and they ask me if I'm making it up, I wish I could say yes. But this was my real life.
It was around and I had just set my station up for my shift. My first customer had come to me and was disgruntled about something to the point that I had to call my manager over. I was kind of standing behind my manager at my window as he was talking to the customer. I didn't see it, but I heard it; the loudest crash of the glass door being swung open against the wall at full force. And before I saw them, I heard them yelling and ordering everyone to "get on the fucking floor. Get on the fucking floor now"! I saw both of them with their stocking caps pulled down over their faces, and their guns waving all over the place. But somehow, they didn't see me (how I know this will be disclosed just a little later).
I dropped to the floor on my stomach. The teller next to me was also lying on the floor and we were facing each other. We kind of raised our heads to whisper to one another. She was terrified because she was pregnant. I just kept telling her the baby will be ok. And then I kept thinking in my head "please let her baby be ok", "did I tell my husband I loved him this morning", "was I going to die"? A million thoughts raced through my head.
My window was right next to a little wooden half gate that separated the teller line from the lobby. As I was lying on the ground, one of the robbers kicked the gate open so hard that it flew off its hinges, crashing into the wall behind the teller line. And then he came behind the teller line and stopped at my window where my manager still was. He pulled my manager off the floor and kept yelling at him to "open the drawer and empty the money". But my manger couldn't because he didn't have the key to my drawer. The robber kept yelling to open the G--Damn drawer now" or he would start shooting. I could hear the teller across from me telling me to tell the robber that it was my drawer. That's how I know he didn't see me. Because then (and I don't know what gave me the idea or the impulse to do this) I stood up. I don't even really remember the process of standing up. I was on the ground and then I wasn't. I was behind the robber telling him that it was my drawer, I had the key. He spun around startled that I was standing there, and I'm lucky his first instinct wasn't to shoot me. But I definitely saw the gun. He pushed my manager out of the way and told me to open the drawer, which I very nervously did. The whole time thinking "should I press the button"? "What if he sees me push the button"? "Should I say something to him"? But I didn't do anything except give him the money.
The other robber was kind of in the middle of the lobby keeping an eye on the two entrances and the customers. Then he ran up to the teller windows and told the other teller to "Get off the floor bitch". There was a lot of "get down, get up, stay down" etc. When they were satisfied with what they got, or out of time, (I don't know), they turned to leave out of the same door they came in. The robber who was at my window started to walk away, but then he turned around toward my manger and hit him on the side of the head with the handle of the gun. I guess just to prove a point. As fast and as fiercely as they entered, they exited. This all probably happened in under 10 minutes.
I didn't even cry until the next morning on my way to work. But made myself go back. Several people quit. A few months later, we found out that the robber (there were actually 5 involved) had been arrested. And unbelievably, they were the same guys who robbed that same branch just two months prior, right before I started working there.
Friday, February 13, 2015
(Alone at Night note: This story comes from an Alone at Nighter, Sara, who also shared her story Handcuff Basement, which is one of our very favorite stories on Alone at Night. After you get done reading this one, check out Handcuff Basement )